British Cabinet Approves Motion for Syria Airstrikes, Action Could Begin Within Days
Britain’s Cabinet has unanimously approved a motion for airstrikes in Syria.
The motion was put forth by Prime Minister David Cameron, and kicked off a 10-and-a-half hour debate on Syria on December 1.
The 12-point motion will, at the conclusion of the meeting, be voted on by MPs.
Cameron made an appeal to MPs across the House of to support him in his attempt to defeat Isis as part of what he described as a “broader strategy” to build a political settlement in Syria, reported the Guardian.
“I will be making the arguments and I hope as many MPs across all parties will support me as possible. We had a meeting of the cabinet this morning and have agreed the motion that will be put in front of the House of Commons,” he said.
“That motion talks about, yes, the necessity of taking military action against Isil in Syria as well as Iraq, but it is part of a broader strategy. It’s about politics and diplomacy and humanitarian aid, all of which we need to bring to bear to bring peace to Syria, but to make sure we protect our national interest of fighting against this appalling terrorist organisation.”
But Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, urged MPs to vote against the motion.
“I am saying to every MP: you make up your own mind, there is no hiding place behind a whipping arrangement or not: your decision, on behalf of your constituents, whether or not we should commit British troops into yet another war in the Middle East with no endgame in sight, no proper plan in sight, a mythical 75,000-strong apparently unknown Free Syrian Army operation which is also infiltrated by a lot of jihadist elements. We are going into a very dangerous situation altogether,” he said on BBC Radio 2.
He also slammed shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn and other supporters of the airstrikes, saying they would be guilty of killing civilians in Syria.
“His belief is that we can get rid of Isil by bombing them. My reply to him and everybody else that supports bombing: when you bomb a town like Raqqa–where there are several hundred thousand people living there, who may or may not wish to be under Isil control, indeed many are trying to escape from there–we are going to kill people; we are going to kill people in their homes by our bombs. I think we should be very careful about that.”
If the green light is given, military action could begin by the end of the week, according to Sky News.
Weapons at Britain’s disposal include Brimstone missiles, which are primarily used to target smaller targets such as vehicles; Paveway IV bombs, laser-guided bombs used to accurately attack key Islamic State locations; and Stormshadow missiles, which were used extensively during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and feature an integrated GPS.